Sringeri Temple - Chikmagalur
Chikmagalur - Where Beauty Speaks
Situated in southwest region of Karnataka, Chikmagalur is around 200 km from the capital city Bangalore. Nestling amidst Baba Budan Giri Hills, the town is at an altitude of 1037 m above sea level. From a tourist point of view, it is tough to find such a magnificent place in such solitary. Embracing lofty hills, splendorous waterfalls, religious places, and having magnificent hill stations close by, Chikmagalur is among the most visited places in Karnataka. The name 'Chikmagalur' means 'The town of younger daughter'. It is said that the land was given as dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada which got it the peculiar name. Chikmagalur is a well known for its tea and coffee estate. The quantity and quality of Coffee, tea from Chikmagalur has been appreciated all over the country.
So, when in Chikmagalur, do not forget to take home some packs of coffee and tea. The best time to visit the town is in the month of October till March. Although the climate is pleasant throughout the year, however, the beauty of the hill stations and the waterfalls is best enjoyed after monsoons.
Attractions - Cure For Weary Eyes
Chikmagalur has a wide variety of attractions inside as well as around. One will find important temples along with scintillating hill stations that offer tourist an all round experience. Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary is another attraction that has made Chikmagalur one of the most visited cities in Karnataka.
Situated at a height of 1434 m above sea level, Kemmanagundi is at a distance of 55 Km from Chikmagalur. The main attraction of the hill station apart from the places to visit is the absolutely enamoring climate here. It remains the same throughout the year. The places to visit in Kemmanagundi are Hebbe falls, Kallathi falls, Rose Garden and Raj Bhavan. Trekking is the best way to move around in this pristine hill station as this lets you explore many beautiful places that are a yet untouched. The scenic beauty in and around, mesmerizing sunrise and sunsets and magical climate have all helped it being called as 'The Ooty of Karnataka'.
Kudremukh is a great spot for excursions from Chikmagalur. Situated at a distance of 95 Km from Chikmagalur and nestling at an altitude of 1894 meters above sea level, it is a hill station apt for trekking. 'Kudremukh' means 'Face of a Horse'. It is named so, because the peak is in the shape of a horse face. Rich in both flora and fauna, most parts of the hill station are still unexplored. The Kudremukh hill bordering Arabian Sea, is dotted with numerous caves and excellent trek routes which makes it a great attraction among the tourists. The view of sun rising from behind the lush green slopes, is truly a sight to behold.
Sringeri is an important pilgrim destination in Chikmagalur. Sringeri is most visited for Sri Sharadamba Temple and Sri Vidyashankara Temple. Sharadamba Temple is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, goddess of learning and wisdom. The temple has grown enormously in the last decade or so. Earlier the entire structure was built of wood, but after a fire accident, it was reconstructed in complete Dravidian style. Sri Vidyashankara temple was built by the founder of Vijayanagar Empire, Vidyaranya to commemorate Pontiff Vidhyashankara. Do not forget to look at the twelve pillars inside Sri Vidyashankara Temple which represent 12 signs of zodiac. They are arranged in such a way that sun rays fall on them according to the specific time of the year.
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the major tourist attractions in Chikmagalur district. Situated around 275 km from Bangalore, it covers an area of around 492 sq. Km. The region earlier was called Jagara Game Reserve Sanctuary but it was renamed to Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary in 1974. In 1988, it became the 25th member of Project Tiger. The main fauna attractions of the park are tigers, leopard, sloth bear, giant squirrels, elephant and gaur. The park is a good place for bird watching as well. Black napped flycatcher, king vulture, great horned owl, and billed stork are few avian members that you will see in Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary. The unique aspect of the sanctuary is the huge variety of butterflies here. Inside the park, there is high peak as well named Kallahathigiri which is around 1875 meters tall. This gives a good option for indulging in trekking inside Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.
Accommodation in Chikmagalur
Chikmagalur has a good variety when it comes to staying options. It has a range of budget hotels but it also boosts of a hotel run by Taj Group. Most of the hotels in Chikmagalur are clean and well maintained. The hotels that you can choose from are Taj Garden Retreat, Quality Inn resort, Padanshree Hotel, and Prakash Lodge.
Nearest airport is in Mangalore which is at a distance of 170 Km from here. It takes around 5 hrs to cover the distance by Road. Buses are regular between the two cities. Mangalore Airport has flights of Indian Airlines and Jet Airways connecting it to rest of India. Banghalore and Hubli are other two airports where you can get down for Chikmagalur.
Nearest railhead to Chikmagalur is at Kadur and it has connection to many important cities in India. From Bangalore, it takes nearly 3 hrs by an express train. Take a bus or hire a taxi to reach Chikmagalur in about 45 minutes. There are trains that connect it to other parts of Karnataka as well. You can also get down at Berur which is around 50 minute drive away from here.
Chikmagalur is well connected by NH 48 that connects it to all the major cities in Karnataka. The route via Hassan is the fastest. Bangalore is at a distance of 240 Km. There is regular KSRTC bus service between Bangalore and Chikmagalur. During weekends, it is advisable to take tickets in advance as KSRTC busses run full and it is not easy to get tickets. It will tak nearly 5 hrs to cover the distance. You can approach Chikmagalur from Mysore as well which will take around 4 hrs 30 min.
City bus service, tongas (Horse Carriage) and cycle rickshaws are the main players in Chikmagalur. Do not forget to experience the unique tonga ride inside the city.